Bears and Elephants

Sometimes you just have to wonder. I asked Russell's mother to send me a copy of a key family picture. Upon receiving it, my hunch was confirmed. Russell’s use of Pooh gently strolling with hands clasped behind his back matched perfectly the image we all have of his father on his habitual constitutional walks. Exchanging childhood memories, Russell described the "bear house" he and his brothers had shared. Visiting where he grew up, I saw it very much like my own doll house, where bears were brilliantly substituted for dolls. In a house of three rambunctious boys, this gentle twist has always resonated with me, where imagination held a sacred place. Through the years, iconic images of Babar, Pooh, ball, moon and star shapes were always popping up in Russell's sketches, prints and sculptures. More than just alluding to memories, he was quietly coding his relationship with his father whose crowning accomplishment was to ensure they would always be there. When our daughters were born, Russell made cradles and toy boxes with cut-out moons, carved animal figurines, blocks with stars and many bear and Babar related gifts. Saved and sprinkled throughout our home, still making magic.
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